Monday, March 30, 2015

15 Easter Basket Filler Ideas for Kids

Happy Monday Everyone! Hope you had a nice weekend.
We had lovely cool but sunny weather pop back up over the weekend. Perfect for the outdoor activities we had on the agenda.
With Easter this weekend, I'm still trying to track down a few more things for the Easter baskets. I always want to make sure I have enough things to fill the basket without spending too much money. But I also like to make sure whats in the basket is something that will get used rather than more junk I'll end up throwing away. So here are some ideas on Easter Basket fillers for young children.

1. Band-Aids: Gosh, my kids love to put band-aids on any possible boo boo. So any character band-aid is great to have and the kids use them up. Character band-aids run a little over a $1 each normally. And sometimes you can find them at the Dollar Tree.

2. Bubbles: We tend to go through bubbles (and lose or spill them). Walgreens currently has bubble wands for .49 with in-store coupon.

3. Hot Wheels: My son can never have enough hot wheels cars. Walgreens has them on sale this week for .69 with in-store coupon. Otherwise, these are never more than $1.

4. Stickers: These are great for sticking all over arms and legs or making artwork on paper. Always  great choice and you can find tons at the Dollar Tree.

5. Head Bands or Bows: I love having ones to match every possible outfit. And we seem to lose them here and there anyway. I found some adorable headbands in the Target Dollar spot this year.

6. Kites: We've still got some windy days ahead and for just a couple of bucks they can have something to fly in the sky.

7. Mr. Bubbles Bubble Bath: Just like regular bubbles, we go through our bubble bath. Can never have enough. A large bottle runs around $3.50.

8. DVDs: I'll gladly add another movie to the kids collection. Best Buy always has a bin of great kids movies on DVD or Blu-Ray for $4.99. Plus you'll see sales at Target and Wal-Mart. I'd like to get HOP and The Little Rascals this year.

9. Coloring books/Crayons: You can find both for a $1 just about anywhere. And there is nothing like a fresh set of crayons and a coloring book. :-) If you want to spend a few more dollars, I do think these crayon gems are really different and fun! (Found at Target but no longer available online.)

10. Play-Doh: Wal-Mart has single regular size containers of Play-Doh for .50 each. These are always drying out or being mixed with other colors turning them a nice mud brown or marble color. Pick a fun spring color for your basket.

11: Books: I think kids can always enjoy a new book to read. You can find ones for all different ages at the Target Dollar Spot and the Dollar Tree. Ross and TJ Maxx are always places to find nice books for under $5 each.

12. Sidewalk Chalk: A fun activity, coloring out on the sidewalk under the beautiful spring weather. Again, just a $1-$2 at just about any store.  

13. Clothes: Kids are always growing out of their clothes or staining them up, right?! The best place for some clothes coming in at just a few bucks or under is the Target Clearance rack. But check out Wal-Mart and the kid's clothing stores clearance racks as well. You never know what you'll find!

14. Craft Supplies: Check out the Michael's dollar section at the front of the store, Target Dollar Spot and the Dollar Tree. All great places to find craft paper, paint, paint brushes, stamps, pre-packaged art kits and any other fun craft type supplies.

15. Treats: Okay...and candy. But I like to keep the candy to a few single pieces usually. My kids love all of the Gerber Graduate puffs, bars and such. Treats like those are great as well. I picked up some cookie sticks with dip in the Target Dollar Spot this year.

*In addition to items like these suggestions, in the photo above I got my son a paratrooper and my daughter some bath toys that they are still playing with a year later.

What things do you like to fill the kids' Easter Baskets with?
Linking Up with:

Friday, March 27, 2015

3.27.15 // High Five for {the little things} Friday!

I am SINGING that it is Friday!
It flew by and I feel like I need another one of me and 8 more hours in the day. 
Well...Happy Friday! My five little things for the week are below.

1. We rented Nightcrawler from Redbox this week. It was a longer movie at over 2 hours and I stayed up and alert the whole time. (Sometimes hard for me to do!) But in the end I wasn't sure how I actually felt about the movie. Have any of you seen it? What did you think?  

2. I FINALLY found a high waist two piece bathing suit at Target for $33! I've had a one piece for the past few years, which is adorable but I'm not a fan of using the restroom in a one-piece (sorry?! lol) and I feel like I can move around a little better in a two-oiece. Since having babies, I'm not comfortable with all the low cut two-pieces so this was perfect! These types of suits should be available more in stores. They are really hard to find!

3. We have family in town from New York this week through next week. It is SO NICE to see them and spend time with them. The kids adore them and they adore our children. Can't wait until we can be the ones visiting them in New York again!

4. And so in addition...I have today, Monday and Tuesday off for VACATION! Yay! 

5. I took these aloe plants that our neighbor gave us a few weeks ago and finally planted them in these tin, polka dotted buckets. Quick post over here if you missed it. Now they are hanging out in my home and work office. 

How was your week? Did you week fly by like mine?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My New Little Aloe Plants

Happy Hump Day! Boy have these past few weeks seemed crazy to me.
I'd love to be ahead of the game but I'm still trying to just barely get caught up with things.
Just a quick little post today.

Our neighbor was so sweet and brought down a few pieces from her aloe plant.
She was trying to get it cleaned up because aloe plants seem to grow like crazy!
She replanted a few of her pieces and then brought down two little buckets with some for us.

My husband's first thought was "I am not planting that, it will take over our yard!"
He was about to toss them when I found these cute buckets stashed in my pantry from my daughter's birthday party.
I've seen all kinds of succulents planted in small, tin buckets and thought I'd try doing the same with the aloe.

I just stuck a little soil in the bottom of the bucket, situated the aloe how I wanted it and filled the rest of the bucket up with the soil.

Trimmed the little guys up and they look adorable!
They are kind of long and wild looking but I like that about them.
I placed one at my desk at home and one at work.

Ever snag flowers or plants from your yard to spruce things up inside?

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Simplest {Peeps} Easter Cupcakes

Warning: These are pre-blog pictures which means real life pictures I took just for my own memories. Try to ignore the bottles of  fish oil and dirty glasses in the background.

I ran across this great idea to make Easter cupcakes using Peeps over at The Frugal Girls.
And you know of course, I never have exactly everything I need make something I see we improvise. This is the quick and simple way to make these:

One box of cake mix
One tub of frosting
Cupcake liners
Peeps Marshmallows
Small plastic ziplock baggie
Green food coloring
  • Purchase boxed cake mix of your choice (I chose chocolate because....dirt...duh.) and bake as directed in muffin tins. I used some spring muffin tin liners but you can't even see the design. But that is okay because once again....dirt. :-)
  • While muffins are baking, empty your tub of frosting into a bowl. Time to make the grass green. Add a few drops of green food coloring at a time, mix into the frosting and repeat until you have your desired color.
  • Once cupcakes have cooled, it's time to make the grass. If you are lucky and have a piping bag and tips, you can use the grass tip for quick and easy grass. Mine took a wee little bit longer to make. Put your green frosting into a ziplock baggie. Cut the tip of one of the corners off. You can try 'piping' the frosting out and pull up to create grass but it was a little difficult. I ended up just making a 'pile' of grass like you see below. Play around with it, it's cute any way you look at it.
  • Now you can take your Peeps (I grabbed both bunnies and chicks) and insert toothpicks halfway into the bottom of them. Stick the Peeps right into the center of the cupcakes.

Other fun twists on the Peeps Easter cupcakes:
  • Color coordinate your cupcakes with matching peeps and frosting/sprinkles like Jen at CincyShoppers does.
  • Add a few chocolate Easter eggs to your finished cupcakes just like MommySavers did.
  • Or just bake the mix as a cake and surround your cake in Peeps like Karrie at Happy Money Saving did. Top with pastel M&Ms...adorable!

Are you a fan of peeps when they come out for Easter? 
Make any fun crafts or desserts with them?

Friday, March 20, 2015

3.20.15 // High Five for {the little things} Friday!

Happy...FRIDAY! Oh's been quite the week.
No plans this weekend which I am happy about.
I've got a lot of projects and things around the house to work on and the weekends
 already fly by as it is. 
1. Took the kids to Chuck E Cheese for a birthday party over the weekend. My daughter has never been and was so tickled to give Chuck E a big ole' high five wen he came out for his song and dance. And we had a little father/son duo on the Guitar Hero game. Adorable!

2. We also got to take the kids to check out an event called Pig on the Pond that helps raise scholarships for local kids. We got to watch some cute little piggies race, ride the big slide, eat some BBQ (fries topped with pulled pork and cheese sauce for me). And my son just so happened to get to meet 'BATMAN' there. "He's real mom!" Melt my heart...

3. Had another great shopping trip this week at Publix. I spent $151 but saved $103 in coupons and sales. $41 of that was just in coupons! Some trips to the store I don't even have one coupon in hand and other times I luck out with a stack full.

4. So my mom came over today and brought me a small surprise...the red lipstick from my spring/summer wish list post on Monday. I did a little happy's the small things.
(Thanks mom!)

5. Cupcakes!!! We were given a 4-pack of the cutest gourmet St. Patrick's Day cupcakes at work this week. Oh, I have such a sweet tooth and these were delicious. 

How was your week? Ready for the weekend?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shopping Withdrawal: Spring/Summer Wish List

Happy Monday! Did you have a nice weekend?
We had a birthday party to attend on Saturday and we went to a local event for the kids on Sunday. In between those two things I seemed to do a lot of cleaning, organizing and clearing out clutter. Just the start of Spring Cleaning I guess!
And now that I started clearing out things, I've got some little things that I want to purchase on my brain.
I thought I'd share some current items on my wishlist. I haven't actually shopped for myself in quite some time so I have been virtually shopping and creating a list.

Leopard High Wait Bikini Bottom // Target

High Waist Bikini: 
Since having two kids, gone are the days of a two piece bikini (for now anyway!). I purchased a super cute retro looking one piece after having my son but it's time for a new bathing suit. I really love the idea of a two piece high-waisted bathing suit and found these bottoms at Target to give a try. 
 $17.99 for the bottoms. (Text APPAREL to 827438 to get a $5 off $25 apparel, shoes & accessories purchase.)

 White Keds // Macys

Casual Tennis Shoes:
I'm not a huge tennis shoe person. I have a hard time wearing them with anything besides work out gear but when I saw these at Macy's I thought they could be cute worn with anything from jeans to dresses.
I have a Macy's giftcard burning a hole in my pocket but they are currently $50 so I am waiting on a sale.

 Black & White Striped Ponte Sheath Dress // Old Navy

Versatile Summer Dress:
I need a really great dress that can be dressed up or worn super casual. I saw this over on Lilly at Lilly's Style and it fit her great! Now, truth be told when I get the chance to try it on because I don't have a lot of luck when it comes to dresses.
Currently $32.50 but again I will wait to pair with a sale. (30% off your online purchase today only, 3/16. No code needed.)

 Marigold // Revlon

Red Lipstick:
I started getting into lipsticks with Revlon's lip butters. But as I have added new lipsticks to my makeup bag, I've become less of a fan of the lip butters as the coverage is a bit sloppy and the color doesn't stay. I'm looking for an actual lipstick in a red color and this looks beautiful! I have a couple of other colors to try if this doesn't work out.
$8.99 (Get $6 ECB at CVS when you spend $15 on Revlon cosmetics through 3.21.15)

Black Scalloped Shorts // Loft

Slim Fit Shorts:
I have a few pairs of shorts but most are a little loose on me. Some I may even need to get rid of. I love that these are a solid color but have a cute scalloped hem detail. They look slim fit and flattering. And these can be dressed up or down as well. 
Currently $44.50. (Get $25 off $50+ regular price purchase through 3.22.15 with promo code LOVESPRING1.) 

Do you have anything on your current wish list? Waiting for any good sales?

Friday, March 13, 2015

3.13.15 // High Five for {the little things} Friday!

Ohh it's Friday the 13th! How spooky?!
Hope everyone had a great week. I'm surely looking forward to the weekend.
I mean...when am I not?!

1. We got to watch another Redbox movie this week, John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves I knew nothing about this movie going in but I was not disappointed. Once again, I recommend it!

2. My husband and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary last Friday. He cooked me a delicious steak dinner and then we took the kids out for frozen yogurt. I made him this really special picture and he loved it (post on how I made it here)!

3. My in-laws treated us to a place called Keke's Breakfast Cafe for brunch and it was A-MAZING! I drank so much coffee and stuffed my face with a Greek omelet and Banana, Nut, Caramel stuffed french toast. We heard lots of great reviews on this place and we can now say we agree.

4. I think the Florida winter is pretty much over so it was time to do a little gardening on Sunday. We replaced all of our sad, dead flowers (from the hanging baskets and planters) with some new colorful flowers. Ahhhh a little life and color back into our front yard.

5. I made Orzo for the first time ever and it was so good! I used this recipe for One Pot Creamy Chicken, Vegetable & Parmesan Orzo. It was quick and easy and used mostly pantry staples. I didn't have spinach on hand so I omitted it and replaced the red pepper with red and yellow sweet peppers I had on hand.

How was your week? Please share in the comments!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

{D.I.Y} Special Date Photo Gift for Under $20

My husband and I just celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary.
The 'traditional' gift for 5 years is something with wood. I have never given an anniversary gift that corresponded with the traditional material outline but for some reason this year I decided to do that. And I wish I'd actually done it from year one. It's fun and challenging to get creative on a gift that's supposed to be cotton, wood, copper, etc.

I decided on creating a really special picture and placing it in a wood frame.
I picked this one up at Target for $16.99:

Then I literally roamed my house to find anything with numbers on it. The plan was to capture our wedding date:
kids' building block // number from our house sign // alarm clock

I had a hard time creating a collage but found a website called iPiccy. It was free to use and I was able to create a collage in 8x10 format and turn the photo black & white.

I loaded the collage to the Walgreens website and ordered an 8x10 print for in-store pick up. I found a code online that gave me 40% off prints. The print cost less than $2.50.

I loved how this gift turned out but you can also take this idea and use it for:

  • Newborn photos and birth dates.
  • Graduation photos and graduation date.
  • Birthday photos and birth dates.
  • Special picture with someone and the day you met.

Don't you love giving photo gifts? They are inexpensive but can be so special!

Linking Up with:
Tatertots & Jello
Uncommon Designs

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rebates: The Biggest Coupons There Are!

I'm sure we're all familiar with what rebates are...
but do you actually take advantage of them?!
For the longest time I'd see things online or on packages about a rebate
and pretty much ignore them.
WHY?! This means you can get a product for FREE or a large reimbursement on the product.

You can find rebates on the actual product, in coupon inserts in your newspaper,
online and in store.
The forms usually request basic information (name, address, email), have you include the UPC code from the product packaging and the original receipt. It really takes no longer than 5 minutes.
Pop it in the mail and wait for your money! (Sometimes you can even submit online.)

It can take 6-8 weeks (or longer) to receive your rebate. I like to keep a post-it in my planner with a list of rebates I have submitted so I can keep track of the ones I have received and ones I am sill waiting on.

This year alone I have already submitted for $65 in rebates. And this is on products that I would buy whether or not a rebate was attached to the product or not.

Here are the rebates I have submitted for so far this year:
  • $20 giftcard rebate on Nutro dog food. 
  • $15 giftcard rebate on Swiffer mop. 
  • $10 cash rebate on paint at Lowes.
  • $5 cash rebate on purchase of Advil.
  • Rebate for the purchase price of Zantac. ($8.99)
  • PLUS I recieved a post card in the mail from the local transportation department that offered me $5 cash for taking a survey on a new road they are building. 

Here are some current rebates that are available:

Make sure to read all of the details of the rebates. You want to make sure you purchase the correct items and submit the rebates properly. Remember, you can also use coupons on the products that you will be submitting rebates for.
So keep your eyes open for rebates. Don't pass them's free money!

Do you submit for rebates? Or do you tend to pass them up?

Friday, March 6, 2015

3.6.15 // High Five for {the little things} Friday!

Hi Friday. So glad to see you! I'm looking forward to the weekend. How about you?
It's time for another round of High Five for Friday - looking back on some of the little highlights from this past week.

1. Took the kids to the children's museum over the weekend and they had a blast! It was a special Health Expo day so admission was half off. Perfect! We met the sweetest pet therapy dog named Bruce Lee while we were there.

2. This is a repeater. I'm sorry. But I had the Starbucks Chocolate Caramel muffin again!

3. I received an email from Starbucks with a coupon for a FREE breakfast sandwich. So the following day I treated myself to a Bacon, Egg and Gouda sandwich and a grande coffee. Such a treat for me since I bring my own breakfast and coffee from home during the week.

4. My daughter pretty much grew out of her shoes over the weekend so we got to do a little toddler shoe shopping. Seriously...sometimes its hard to narrow down the choices!

5. We rented the movie FURY from Redbox on Sunday. LOVED it. Quite brutal parts to it but I thought the movie was really well done. My husband is always surprised when I like any kind of war movie. Ha!

How was your week? Hope you have a great weekend!

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